Can you put your Christmas jumper in the washing machine?

Well the answer is most definitely yes. You can wash your Christmas jumper in the washing machine!

But no matter whether your jumper is made from wool, or man-made fibres, never be tempted to tumble dry.

Before washing any Christmas jumper, make sure you’ve removed the battery and lights, if you opted for one of these new fancy flashing ones. If a jumper has lots of pom pots or sequins then it also would be a good idea to wash in a net laundry bag.

Christmas Jumpers with traditional patterns. Freshly washed with Distinctive washing powder

Christmas jumpers washed with Distinctive

Check the garment label

Your first port of call is to check the garment label for the fabric composition and wash instructions. But bear in mind, if it says hand wash only, modern machines have both hand wash and delicate programme settings.

100% wool can be washed in the washing machine these days, advises Louise from Distinctive Wash Ltd. Washing machines have special settings for wool and delicate laundry. The programme ensures very low levels of tumbling/agitation and washes at a low temperature suitable for the garment.  Basically, the overall wash will be very similar to simply soaking the woollen jumper in a sink or bowl, and turning it over by hand. So you really don’t need to stand at the kitchen sink, refilling and emptying out dirty water.

The washing machine is only going to tumble every once in a while at a slow speed. As long as you only wash a few items of similar material together, the programme will ensure that all garments are equally wetted in water and detergent and washed through well. Modern Washing machines are capable of very slow spin speeds or the cycle ending with a drain only function which is not going to affect the garment any more than wringing it out by hand.

Don’t be tempted to overload the washing machine with additional clothing. This is one wash than needs plenty of space. You don’t want loose tights or gentleman’s shirt sleeves getting tangled up with your nice woollen jumpers. Nor do you want loose wool fibres all over the other garments.

Christmas jumpers can be made from a variety of materials, and some are more washable than others. Wash them right and your Christmas jumper should last longer than it is likely to fit, or be in fashion.

Less is more when it comes to Cashmere and 100% wool

You can wear a jumper much longer than a shirt or a t-shirt, and natural fibres last longer than the modern synthetics. They don’t want to be washed too frequently. If you wear a shirt or a t-shirt underneath, you might get around 8 to 10 wears before needing to wash the Christmas jumper. Just keep hanging it back up after wearing. Wool is great at regulating body temperature, so you are unlikely to sweat so much that the armpit area smells.

If you prefer to wash cashmere by hand, the water wants to be cooler to the touch, than you would hand wash other garments. If you think of the water being slightly on the cool side of a baby’s bath, then you have it about right. Whatever detergent you use, please dose sparingly. Detergents to avoid are those containing bleaching agents or whiteners.  A biological detergent like Distinctive is fine if used sparingly (we suggest a teaspoonful per jumper) and will remove more sweat and grime at low temperatures if left to soak in a sink, than a non-bio will.

Simply leave to soak for an hour, while you do other things, and then squeeze out gently before running a sink full of rinsing water.

Leave flat to dry.

When you finally squeeze out the water or you’ve pulled the jumpers out of the washing machine, you can remove even more water still ,by pressing between two clean towels and patting down. Then you need a flat space to dry it on. Only put on a hanger for the last hour or so of air drying.

Santa shouldn’t really be ironing this! It’s made of polyester fleece fabric and will mark/burn if heat is applied. Best steamed if needed.

Don’t Iron

Hopefully, if you’ve dried it carefully you won’t need to use an iron at all. Wool fibres melt and contract with heat.

Heat and agitation in a machine are the worst culprits for spoiling wool or cashmere products.

Acrylic mix 

Much more hardy a composition. If the balance of wool to acrylic is half and half or greater, these jumpers look great and will definitely wash in the washing machine on a wool /handwash setting.  Use half the detergent you normally would for the same size load. Remember to dry flat and only hang straight to dry if it’s a very fine light weight knit. Just make sure you don’t wash any hotter than hand-wash temperature of 30/40 degrees. The fibres in these fabrics are super hard wearing and should be colour fast too. You can even wash with other garments unless the item is particularly fluffy and at risk of shedding.


Also washes well in the machine even if it says not, just remember the wool programme and temp of just 20/30 degrees.

Cotton/Cotton mixes

Even in winter there are a fair few Cotton mixes about, and they machine wash brilliantly too. You can even get away with slightly warmer water and dosing the load as you would all your other garments. Just beware of any detergents containing whiteners, (optical brighteners) or bleach. A fine cotton knit black jumper will look horrendous under UV lighting, if it’s been in contact with a detergent containing optical brighteners, plus you run the risk of faded patches appearing.

If you know someone who might like to try Distinctive, place an order for yourself and we will pop in a FREE mini that you can pass on to them. A snuggly jumper should definitely smell as good as it looks, when you are getting or giving those all-important Christmas hugs.

Did you know that Christmas Jumper Day is a relatively recent calendar event. We like to think of it as giving Children a hug, as it was launched in 2012 by Save the Children, as a way of raising money. This year’s event on the 8th of December promises to be bigger than ever. The Charity requests that in offices around the country, each person donates £2, with the UK government agreeing to match that, by donating an additional £2 for every person participating.

So wow… 12 million Christmas jumpers were sold in the UK alone in 2019, we’ve estimated that must be a retail value in excess of 46 million pounds. Big business for retailers. I wonder how much Save the Children will raise in 2022?